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10 Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets


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There are cries that traditional media is dying, that newspapers are doomed and that “real” journalism is no longer practiced, thanks to the fact that anyone with a video-enabled-smartphone and access to the Internet can pass themselves off as a ‘reporter’. But by now, you know the doomsayers were wrong. There are many traditional outlets that embrace social media and encourage it among their staff and subscribers. They’ve even built social media into their business models. Take a look at our 10 picks for the most socially connected mainstream media outlets.

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10 Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets

  1. 1. 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media OutletsYou heard the cries that traditional media was dying, that newspapers were doomedand that “real” journalism was no longer practiced—thanks to the fact that anyonewith a blog and webcam could pass themselves off as a reporter. But by now, youknow the doomsayers were wrong.Sure, we’ve certainly seen changes—but they’ve been exciting, promising and evenneeded. And sure, some traditional mainstream outlets still aren’t keeping up, butothers are standing out in their use of social media. These nimble adapters are not onlylearning to survive in the new media era—they’re thriving in it, and some are evenleading the charge when it comes to breaking ground in innovative uses of socialmedia techniques to gather, report, publish and distribute the news.These are the mainstream media outlets featured here (with some surprises added inalong the way), to whom we say long live media!
  2. 2. 1. The New York Times Big Apple Common Sense The New York Times, a traditional bastion that is truly embracing social, was ranked by a recent Net Prospex study as the #1 company with the most social employees. It has long offered an iPhone app and now enjoys over three million Twitter followers. The paper has leaned on the traditional broadcast model in its engagement more than we prefer, but newly installed Social Media Editor Liz Heron recognized this failing and is working to fix it. The NYT also has a social media policy that caught our eye. It’s simple and based on common sense: “Don’t be stupid.” This policy is one big reason we are featuring the NYT. All great social connectors have a solid policy in place that is practical and impactful. This one scores big with us.10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  3. 3. 2. The Los Angeles TimesMore Than Just a Pretty Hollywood Face Social media is a conversation and is at its best when the audience can pick its channel of choice for engaging in that conversation. At the Los Angeles Times, for example, fans can pick from over 200 of the newspaper’s accounts on Twitter, an iPhone app, and even a tweet stream aggregation account. The clincher that sealed the outlet’s inclusion here came when we clicked on the site given on its @LATimes main Twitter account. The URL took us to a custom landing page listing all its Twitter accounts and an overview of the news that each account covered. It didn’t dump us into the paper’s main URL or make us switch to another channel to keep communicating. It highlighted more Twitter connection points. Bravo to the LA Times for keeping the conversation going and honoring channel choices! 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  4. 4. 3. Discovery ChannelShark Week Takes a Bite Out of Social Media The Discovery Channel is the number one non-fiction media company in the world. Its fans are engaged and incredibly loyal. Impressively, Discovery owns over 70 Facebook pages with a fan footprint of 43 million, adding 500,000 per week. The company also has over 20 Twitter accounts with a following of 2.4 million.   The interplay of personal stories, talent, art, and science is the real star when it comes to Discovery’s social presence. Social media engagement is integrated into everything Discovery does, instead of being tacked on as a promotional afterthought. Videos, original content, related third-party content, and big personalities are all part of Discovery’s social success. The company has taken a big bite out of the social media world and earned our respect as a result! 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  5. 5. 4. DisneyThe Magic Kingdom Goes Social Disney, a worldwide media leader, is listening to the consumer in a big way. It’s building multiple channel networks and taking what Duncan Wardle, VP, Creative Inc., Walt Disney Co., calls a “smart risk.” Wardle’s view about companies using social media sums up Disney’s position well: “Are you ready to accept advice? Are you ready to accept input? Are you ready to act on it? If not, you’re better off not doing it.” Disney’s Mom’s Panel and newly acquired Togetherville, a social network for kids under 10, are great examples of this community approach in action. It’s easy to see that open engagement is here to stay for Disney. 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  6. 6. 5. The Times of India Where Sharing Is Caring The Times of India, founded in 1838, is India’s most read English newspaper and the world’s largest-selling English language newspaper. With 180,000 Twitter followers and approximately 1.4 million Facebook fans, it’s making its mark in social media both with sheer numbers and fan participation. Just take a look at its Facebook fan page. Nearly every story has dozens, often hundreds, of comments. The outlet’s share level is through the roof, too! Whether it’s the company’s 3 million+ daily circulation fan base or news quality, it’s clearly doing something right. Sharing is caring in social media and from the look of it, lots of people care about the Times of India.10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  7. 7. 6. Mashable Aggregation Web 2.0 This choice might be controversial since it’s not a “traditional-turned-social” media story. But we didn’t want legacy and circulation to be the only lenses through which we viewed what’s working. We also didn’t want to ignore the rise of aggregation sites in media and journalism. To that end, meet Mashable. is an independent news site that garners 50 million page views and 14 million unique visitors monthly. With a Facebook fan base of 607,000+ and a Twitter following of 2.4 million, hundreds of thousands of fans share and spread the site’s content every day. It’s entire business model is based on social media. With that kind of coverage, we had to give them a tip of the hat, regardless of where they fit on the media timeline.10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  8. 8. 7. Hearst Digital Media Growing by Going Mobile When it came to selecting a magazine media company, we admit that we struggled. Like many media sectors, magazines have been hard hit by the shifting ad revenue landscape. We liked Hearst because of its focus on brand development and commitment to adjusting to the new media environment. The numbers are pretty impressive: Hearst Digital boasts 24 power brands, 21 million unique visitors, 3 million fans/followers, 11 mobile sites, and 14 magazine titles. We gave the organization bonus points for its recent announcement that it has converted its sites to HTML-5, which is iPad compatible. That conversion is complicated and expensive, but it’s also a timely way to be on the leading edge!10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  9. 9. 8. Journal Register Company Innovator of the Year Welcome to the open newsroom, as brought to you by the AP Managing Editors’ 2011 “Innovator of the Year.” The Journal Register Co. is taking quantum leaps forward using crowd and cloud resources to make news. Launched in December 2010, JRC’s newsroom includes a Newsroom Café, open archives, free public Wi-Fi, a Community Media Lab with workstations for local bloggers, and a community meeting space and classroom. The organization’s staff livestreams daily editorial meetings to foster audience participation and engagement. Its social media streams are not yet well- populated, but its groundbreaking approach to local news (through 350 multi-platform channels) is the epitome of social. The Journal Register is one to keep your eye on! 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  10. 10. 9. ProPublica.comPulitzer Prize Winning Service Journalism ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. The organization makes our list because it’s the first online-only newspaper to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. It was birthed online and lives by the principles of open source journalism. ProPublica’s list of awards is impressive. The quality of the organization’s work and systematic social focus is enough to make even those journalists who think “real reporting” has gone by the wayside take notice. We give it high marks for keeping the quality in media while leveraging the new social ethos. This is the face of the future and we are happy to see it. 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  11. 11. 10. BBCHonest About the Past and the Future The British Broadcasting Co. is another legacy company that has embraced social media with full intention. We like how freely it admits the challenges of social media. Yes, honesty is one of the currencies of social media and the BBC comes clean better than nearly any other media company. The BBC has experienced rapid social media growth (from .6 to 1.4 million Twitter followers in a year, for example)—yet it also acknowledges that its traditional TV newscasts still reign supreme. The company is investing heavily in social media while keeping its feet firmly planted in its core competencies. This blend of the past and future is real, transparent, and we like it. Join BBC World News’ 1.2 million Facebook fans by “liking” it, too! 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets
  12. 12. 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media OutletsTRADITION MEETS INNOVATION ...Many media outlets listed here might defy your traditional view of “best.” Forus, social connection is all about the community and the fans. It would beeasy to dismiss the grassroots or smaller regional outlets as not in the sameleague as those listed here, but we recommend caution in that line ofthinking.Crowd-sourcing, citizen journalism, and high levels of transparency andsharing are breaking down longstanding barriers. The media is changingrapidly and we hope some of the examples here can serve as guideposts forexciting new ways that others can not only survive—but also thrive—in thisshifting online landscape. Long live media!
  13. 13. 10 Picks for Most Socially Connected Mainstream Media Outlets Next on “The Pulse”:"Show Me the Money: 10 Leading Cities for PR Salaries” We’ll feature our picks of best cities for PR and communications compensation. Follow us on Twitter: @Marketwire, @Sysomos Follow us on Twitter: @Commprobiz